Are you feeling stressed this holiday
season? Is money is extremely tight? Is
there not enough time in the day? Do you
wish you could experience more holiday
so, the following article by
the Pennsylvania Psychological Association
offers tips on coping with
Making the Most of the Holiday Season
Tips on Preventing Holiday Stress
Given our country's economic woes, the
holidays have the potential to create
additional challenges this year. Few people
seem to have extra resources to spend on
gifts, parties and extravagances. Families
are cutting back, employees are worrying
about job security, and seniors are
concerned about their retirement.
In an online poll conducted this summer, the
American Psychological Association (APA)
found that nearly half of Americans report
that their stress level has increased over the
past year, and as many as 30 percent rate
their average stress level as extreme.
"It is normal to feel overwhelmed during the
holiday season. The pressures to have the
perfect holiday can be extraordinary," says
Dr. David Palmiter Jr., Public Education
Coordinator for the Pennsylvania
Psychological Association. "It is important to
put things in perspective and realize that the
materialism of the holidays isn't the real spirit
of the season. The holidays are about family
and togetherness, not tinsel and presents."
Stress from the ailing economy and the
increasing costs of gas, housing and
healthcare can leave you especially
vulnerable to increased anxiety during the
holidays. However, it is important to view the
current economic situation as an opportunity
to enhance your psychological well-being.
Remember, there are conscious steps you
can take to prevent holiday stress and
ensure a worry-free season.
The Pennsylvania Psychological Association
offers the following tips:
Take time for yourself.
pressure to be everything to everyone.
Remember that you're only one person and
can only accomplish certain things.
Sometimes self-care is the best thing you
can do -- others will benefit when you're
stress-free. Go for a long walk, get a
massage or take time out to listen to your
favorite music or read a new book. All of us
need some time to recharge our batteries --
by slowing down you will actually have more
energy to accomplish your goals.
organizations are also suffering due to the
economic downturn. Find a local charity,
such as a soup kitchen or a shelter where
you and your family can volunteer. Also,
participating in a giving tree or an adopt-a-
family program, and helping those who are
living in true poverty may help you put your
own economic struggles in
Have realistic expectations.
Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, or other
holiday celebration is perfect; view inevitable
missteps as opportunities to demonstrate
flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree or a
burned brisket won't ruin your holiday; rather,
it will create a family memory. If your
children's wish list is outside your budget,
talk to them about the family's finances this
year and remind them that the holidays
aren't about expensive gifts.
Remember what's important.
The barrage of holiday advertising
can make you forget what the holiday
season is really about. When your holiday
expense list is running longer than your
monthly budget, scale back and remind
yourself that what makes a great celebration
is family and friends, not store-bought
presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet
Talk about your
anxiety with your friends and family. Getting
things out in the open can help you navigate
your feelings and work toward a solution for
your stress. If you continue to feel
overwhelmed, consider seeing a
professional such as a psychologist to help
you manage your holiday stress.
This article was reprinted with permission
from the Pennsylvania Psychological
To learn more about stress and mind/body
health, visit the Pennsylvania Psychological
Association's Web site, www.papsy.org, or
the American Psychological Association's
Consumer Help Center at
For more information visit the
resources section of our website.
Wishing you all the best this holiday season!